Park boys’ basketball beats Bloomington Jefferson in close game

Team wins 50-49 because of last second free throw


Lucy zumBrennen

Junior Cole Ewald dribbles the ball around a defender on the opposing team to head towards the basket. At the game against Bloomington Jefferson on Jan. 15, Park won with a score of 50-49.

Kate Schnider

Coach David Breitenbucher said the team lacked speed the first half but was able to pick it up during the second half. He also said the team cannot stop trying once they have a large lead, as the team almost lost it in the last seconds of the game.

“I think in the first half we needed to play with a lot more energy. It felt like we kind of played to Jefferson’s pace and they want to slow it down and it just felt like we were in a lull. Then in the second half we picked it up and we played much better with our energy,” Breitenbucher said. “The other thing we need to do better is at the end of the game with an eight point lead, it can’t go down to giving the game back to them. We let them get a couple big threes, we missed a couple rebounds.”

The team was winning by eight points with around one minute left when Jefferson scored multiple three pointers. Jefferson took the lead by one point with ten seconds remaining in the game. Senior Keyshon Howard got a foul and scored two free throws to get Park a 50-49 win. After this game, Park boys’ basketball’s record is 5-6, according to MN Basketball Hub.

Junior Erik Piehl said although they got off to a slower start, they were able to build momentum

through players’ triumphs and pulled off a strong game.

“I think the game went really well, we started off kind of slow in the first half but after Paris (Johnson) dunked it twice we got really hyped and then we came back and won,” Piehl said.

Breitenbucher said the team has grown and improved its teamwork skills which gives the players the ability to win more games.

“Togetherness was a weakness at the beginning. It felt like we weren’t on the same page. Now that has turned into our strength, we seem to really be putting it together as a team, understanding where each other’s going to be,” Breitenbucher said.

According to senior Adam Bauer, the team just won a huge game against a strong opponent which gave them the motivation to try and keep winning their games.

“We’ve had some big ups and some big downs. We just beat Chanhassen, a good team, by about 20 points, which was great,” Bauer said.

Piehl said he hopes to keep this winning streak going to the end of their season and to possibly make it all the way to State.

“Hopefully, we can win our conference, that’d be nice. And finish out the season strong and then maybe make a State-run,” Piehl said.

Breitenbucher said the team has two more games this week that he hopes to win but the team is taking it one step at a time, focusing solely on their next game against Richfield.

“We have Richfield on Thursday, it’s a home game, and Eagan on Saturday. I’m hoping we can get two more wins here, but we can’t think about Eagan. We’ve got to focus on Richfield, one game at a time,” Breitenbucher said.

Park boys’ basketball’s next game is against Richfield at 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at Park High School.